Steam plume spotted above Mt Ruapehu amid signs of volcanic unrest

Source: 1News

A steam plume has been spotted above Mount Ruapehu's Crater Lake as the central North Island volcano continues to display volcanic unrest.

GNS Science reported the first sign of the plume around 9.45am on Tuesday, saying it ascended slowly to 1-1.5km above the summit. The plume remained visible until around 10.30am.

READ MORE: Volcanologist outlines chances of Ruapehu eruption

"No seismic or acoustic activity accompanied the plume appearance, indicating the steam plume was not generated by strong activity in the lake," GNS said.

"We cannot rule out that very minor activity has occurred, which is why our scientists conducted an observation flight early this afternoon. Observations from that visit indicate that central vent continues to be actively upwelling, and the lake level is marginally higher. These observations are like those reported yesterday."

The current lake temperature is now around 39 degrees Celsius and GNS Science said more steam plumes could be seen over the coming weeks and months under suitable weather conditions.

The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

On Monday, it was reported the volcano had recorded its strongest tremor in 20 years.